Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Chamisso Prize to Fatah, Grjasnowa, Kordic

Literary award of the day number two is the Chamisso Prize, which goes to "authors writing in the German language whose literature is affected by cultural changes". They changed the definition in 2012, apparently, and again I didn't notice; it was previously awarded to writers who wrote in German but had a different native language. I'm pleased they've made the change. Very pleased, in fact, because I hope it will shift the conversation from the lazy "So you grew up speaking Bulgarian, huh? How did you end up falling in love with German?" to something more interesting and possibly less pigeon-holing. 

Anyway, this year the main prize goes to Sherko Fatah. Hooray! Martin Chalmers' English version of The Dark Ship comes out from Seagull Books next month and you should definitely read it. Very exciting and political and well written. Some cultural changes occur. Fatah gets a nice €15,000 prize and will no doubt take place in the award's excellent programme in schools and elsewhere.

They have two prizes for emerging writers, which they've awarded this year to Olga Grjasnowa (All Russians Love Birch Trees, tr. Eva Bacon) and Martin Kordic (Wie ich mir das Glück vorstelle). I bet they're both happy about getting a €7000 boost to their bank accounts.

I'm happy too. 

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